MOBILE REKODI SITUDIO
The Mobile Rekodi Situdio is a community based not-for-profit initiative I started in Kenya in 2010 working with Raphael Omondi from the Pamoja Youth Foundation based in the Kibera slums in Nairobi. The aim of the project was to offer the opportunity for musicians living in Kibera to have their music recorded.
Kibera is purportedly the largest slum in Africa though in many ways it doesn't match with the ideas one might have about an African slum. It does suffer from all the failings of urban high density living in sub-Saharan Africa such as poor and improvised housing, unreliable electricity, unclean drinking water and a complete lack of sanitation services. However, its inhabitants do not live in abject misery and the majority of residents of Kibera are engaged in work of some sort whether they have jobs in the city, run informal businesses in the township itself or 'hustle'. It is a thriving and vibrant place where you can get pretty much anything and the only area in Nairobi where you can buy a decent meal for 50 shillings. It says much for the global reach of the Internet and the contradictions inherent in Kibera that the best way to get a message out to a lot of people fast is through Facebook.
The studio I made was constructed from bed sheets bought from the local second hand clothes market which I decorated with cloth collages and sewed together into the shape of a mosquito net of the type that hangs over most beds in Kenya. I equipped the studio with a Behringer XENYX 1002FX 10 Input 2-Bus Mixer and one Behringer B-2 Pro, Dual Diaphram Conderser microphone which I attached to a laptop borrowed from the offices of Pamoja Youth Foundation.
As the work was not planned, but rather improvised in response to circumstances many aspects of the project did not turn out as I had expected and I feel I made some errors of judgment. However, the Mobile Rekodi Situdio has been in many ways a success and it was a matter of approaching the implementation of the project as an ongoing process of negotiation.